Page 1477 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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The benefits of volunteering cut across all ages and social groups. For example, research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease, diabetes and digestive disorders all show improvement after volunteering. People with limited mobility can access all the benefits of volunteering by offering their time and services via phone or the internet.

Volunteering has been found to be an important dimension of productive ageing and keeping good mental and physical health as people age. Volunteering gives people who are retired opportunities to serve and engage with the community, as well as activities to occupy spare time.

Children and youth who volunteer learn from an early age many important principles and attributes that build good habits and character, such as work, including teamwork, service, compassion, selflessness, the importance of giving back to the community and so forth. I have personally seen this happen as youth that I know have taken the opportunity to clean graffiti from the Lyneham shops and nearby fences, prepare food for the homeless and other such activities. Young people who engage in these activities become strong and resilient.

Finally, with the recent observance of Anzac Day, I wish to thank our veterans, those who have volunteered to give so much in defence of our freedom. I encourage all to contribute to Canberra’s community life by getting involved in volunteering and thank all those across the territory who do.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.16): National Volunteer Week began here in Australia quite some time ago, in 1989, as a way to recognise and celebrate the efforts of our volunteers. Voluntary work is a valuable part of life in Australia, contributing to community participation and building our social connections. This week represents 28 years that we have acknowledged the members of our community who represent the spirit of our city and are the true unsung heroes of the territory.

Volunteering can take place in so many different areas of our community. It could be at the local fire unit, delivering meals, revegetating wetlands or cleaning up our lakes and waterways, tutoring young people, business people who donate their time and services to volunteer-involving organisations, helping sick children or their families, organising and running heritage tours, our community councils run by volunteers, community radio stations, board members of community groups and P&Cs at our schools, school canteens, netball clubs, football clubs and so many other sporting organisations, and our scouts, guides and all the other different age groups encapsulating those groups.

Some of the organisations with which we are familiar that work in this area every day include Ronald McDonald House, Vinnies, the Salvation Army, Soldier On and RSL, the YMCA and YWCA, Lifeline, Communities@Work, Zonta, Rotary and Lions clubs, just to give a very small snapshot of volunteer organisations and volunteer-involving organisations.

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